The Interfaith Working Group:
Using God's Truth To Fight The Right
Too often when gays and lesbians think of religion, they think about
people like Pat Robertson, Ralph Reed or Jerry Falwell: men who would use
the Bible against them. That's why it's refreshing when you find a group
of people who make it their purpose to fight the lies that these men and
others like them spread around the world. Such a group is The Interfaith
The IWG, based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania believes that the characterization
of religion as inherently conservative, and the subsequent portrayal of
social debates as disagreements between the religious and the areligious
undermine faith in religious institutions and the ideal of religious diversity.
Their mission is to inform the public of the diversity of religious opinion
on social issues where it is not widely recognized by providing a voice
and a forum for religious organizations, congregations and clergy in the
Philadelphia area who favor gay rights, reproductive freedom, and the separation
of church and state.
The IWG is just over a year old and already they have accomplished much.
Their organization includes two congregations, five religious organizations
and thirty-five clergy from twelve faiths and denominations. They've sent
an average of eight letters a month to newspapers, magazines, TV stations,
state and Federal officials, school boards, school officials and the heads
of national organizations.
They have written to support gay teachers and gay-friendly school policies
and teaching materials, to protest censorship and forced religious participation,
to argue against the policies of the Radical Religious Right, to uphold
marriage for same-sex couples, to counter the demoralization programs of
groups like Concerned Women for America, and to dispute claims that all
religious people think alike, or that the extension of privacy rights or
the practice of minority religions has led to a general moral decline.
Getting involved is easy:
· If you live in the Philadelphia area, get your congregation, religious
organization and/or clergy person to join the Interfaith Working Group.
· If you don't live in the area, check to see if there's a similar
group where you live. If there isn't one, start one. Feel free to borrow
their organizational structure and ask them for advice.
· They held the Philadelphia Freedom to Marry Conference and a press
conference supporting municipal Domestic Partnership which got outstanding
If you're interested in learning more about the IWG, visit their homepage
or write to them at:
Interfaith Working Group
PO Box 11706
Philadelphia, PA 19101
If you want advice on how to start an IWG in your area, contact Chris
Purdom at: 215-389-1400, box 2. Or by e-mail.